Ratings: Duck Dynasty Premiere Down Sharply

Phil Robertson Leaving Duck DynastyThere was no scandal bump for Duck Dynasty, which experienced across-the-board ratings declines in its return Wednesday.

RELATED | Duck Dynasty Imbroglio: 5 (Admittedly Ridiculous) Replacements for Phil Robertson

The Season 5 premiere of the A&E phenom drew 8.5 million viewers, down sharply from the nearly 12 million that tuned in for the Season 4 opener last year. Among 18-49, the back-to-back episodes dipped 33 percent to 4.2 million viewers.

This marked the first Duck Dynasty episodes since the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson’s incendiary GQ interview, a dustup that led to his temporary suspension from the series.

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  1. Et al says:


    • Joe says:

      That is awesome whith those ratings they should be on for a few more years !!

      • +1 says:

        Especially when 8 million viewers and 4.2 among the demo are way higher than anything on bradcast right now! I’m glad.

        • Sean Renaud says:

          American Idol and the NFL just off the top of my head would like a word with you about being full of BS.

        • Shelly says:

          Tell that to the “Body of Proof” audience when it regularly pulled in over 10 million viewers but because they weren’t the desired demographic, 18-49, it was cancelled. That key demographic is there for a reason.

        • Tim says:

          Hopefully the ratings go down week after week, then A&E will realize what a huge mistake it was rehiring Phil Robertson who not only is a racist, and homophobe but was all for grown men marrying child brides..

    • Freedom6 says:

      How about this the story for one is not true and what even worst is the guy writing it is gay and is part of that GLADD group. The can stop. The lost and now they are still trying to take Duck down what losers

  2. GoGiants says:

    Good. So much for the “I stand with Phil” people, LOL. Guess the TEA folk are a tiny (if loud) minority.

    • A mere 8.5 million viewers..Let’s see now, that’s 3-times Bill O’reilly..four times Sean Hannity..10-times any combination of the wackos at MSNBC..beating all the rest of A&E’s lineup..and that’s without a single advertising trailer from A&E to promote the show..

      Looks like a high class problem for the ducks…quack, quack.

      • Geo says:

        Losing nearly 30 percent of your audience is not a healthy sign– particularly when the greatest losses are in the age demographic most advertisers target– no matter how loud anyone might quack.

        • Essex says:

          @ Geo – You understand that those losses happened way before this controversy, right? The viewership is actually up from the previous season’s finale.

          • Tim says:

            You must be a Tea Party or a Republican party member right? What other reason would you have for ignoring facts and actually believing what is coming out of your mouth? The ratings are down over 3.5 million from last year.. The target demo group is down 1/3 rd from last year.. That is a disaster. And if the bleeding continues week after week then it is an indication that families are tuning out and are disgusted by this entire Robertson family.

      • GoGiants says:

        Down tremendously. Sorry, teafolk, your days of relevance are drawing to a close!

    • Bradley Stephen says:

      GoGiants, it might be that television viewers are tuning out A&E, not necessarily Duck Dynasty. I, for one, have chosen to not watch any show on A&E. It is my hope that Duck Dynasty will switch to another channel. If so, I will resume watching the show.

  3. L.M. says:

    Good news. Maybe they will go away.

  4. A says:

    Genuinely shocked that conservatives didn’t flock to this show. Fantastic news!

    • Daisy says:

      I think they did, I just don’t think they realize that they are becoming outnumbered.

    • Mike says:

      Fantastic News? The show had 8.5 million viewers, for A&E. It was about the same in ratings as Modern Family, and only was behind, Idol and Criminal Minds which are network shows. Considering how many times the show airs, people do not treat the Season Opener the same as other shows. You may not like the show, but the numbers are huge for A&E and the show.

      • Jake says:

        Very true but I did expect it to have higher numbers given the posters, the petitions, the death threats but now I hear people are boycotting a and e for letting go Phil in the first place, hoping that the show goes to another network, which is a boycott that doesn’t seem well thought out

  5. Daisy says:

    It’s nice to see that there are tangible consequences for having homophobic and racist positions.

    • james says:

      The ‘consequences’ are because of A&E’s ridiculous actions regarding Phil’s non-controversial statement, as indicated by the millions who indicated they would dump A&E.

      Are you considered about Jay-z’s constant homophobic and misogynistic remarks in his music?


      It’s OK because he’s black?

      Thought so.

      • iceturkee says:

        is that snot running from your nose? thought so!

      • Tristan says:

        Yea your right on that one. They will attack a man who follows the gospel and states the truth, but when a celebrity is all pro LGBT and they say that it’s not wrong to be gay everybody is like “ok”.
        Also for everyone who doesnt know the bible may say that homosexuality is wrong, it’s not saying the person is going to hell or bad, only the Sin( in this case Homosexuality).

    • Essex says:

      @ Daisy – There were no consequences. GLAAD failed in their attempt to have Robertson fired and loot Duck Dynasty profits and merchandising, and actually defeated their own purpose by bringing greater attention and viewership to the show they were trying to shut down. You could argue that A&E felt some backlash for being so blindly corporate, but they tried to play both sides of the fence, so nothing unexpected there.

      • Kate says:

        Greater viewership? They lost almost 4 million viewers! Yes, they were up from their last outing (barely), but advertisers look at premiere to premiere numbers. This drop is HUGE.

        • cheryl bowie says:

          It’s because of A&Es actions. Never treat your cash cow like cow pucky. I hope they move.

        • Marti says:

          There was a 4 million drop between the premier of Season 4 compared to that of Season 5.
          The start of season 4 likely had some viewers tuning into for the first time who were curious as to what the phenomena was all about and checking out deciding the show wasn’t appealing.

          But to put things into perspective, , what was the rating for the season 4 finally rated? 8.4 ,,,which actually means post controversy..there was an increase in the ratings.Given that A&E didn’t really promote the premier, I would say thats pretty impressive.

          • Tim says:

            That is so ridiculous it is actually hilarious.. The demographics which is the one that really counts because that is the younger viewers are down 1/3 from last year. That is what the networks care about, not the old folks like you. Next week will tell the tale, if the ratings continue to drop, then it will show A&E and the disgusting homophobes, racists and child bride advocates which Phil Robertson is and his supporters that people are showing their disgust by tuning out. When will you dinosaurs come to the realization that time is running out?

    • Marti says:

      Tangible consequences such as still having a very successful and highly related cable show?

      Tangible consequences such still making millions of dollars off of their hard product (their Duck Calls)

      Tangible consequences such as countless ‘licensed’ products being available for sale and vendors apologizing to customers for their knee jerk reaction when they first removed them?

      Tangible consequences such as still being booked for numerous paying speaking engagements?

      Face facts, the left ‘lost’ this battle.

    • snakedriver says:

      Most people don’t like haters. This show is so un reality it reeks. But since 23% of the population that though George W Bush was a did a good job as president and Sarah Palin would make a good one. There will always be an audience for BS shows like this that cater to haters,

  6. Dick Whitman says:

    I’ll agree with the others so far….great news!!

  7. Babygate says:

    I don’t watch and don’t care one way or another but its is comical for anyone to think that these ratings are anything but spectacular for cable AND even network tv. And for anyone that watches cable ratings, their reruns do very, very well also.

    • GoGiants says:

      What part of ratings are DOWN do you not understand? After all the noise conservatives made, people didn’t tune in.

      Conservatives are learning their numbers are small.

      • Dennis says:

        at GoGiants , reading comprehension problems? he’s say the ratings may be down but are still great for a cable show, Libs are so hateful and oppressive someday they will learn the consequences of their actions

        • WTactualF says:

          This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. Reasonable people don’t don’t racism and homophobia acceptable.

          • ailkate says:

            Thanks and well said! people got all agitated about freedom of religion and speech, but what that means is we don’t imprison you or burn your house down for expressing your beliefs. But we don’t have to LIKE them. These guys are famous only because of A&E, which had the right as any employer does to fire someone for bringing unwanted attention to the brand and alienating viewers (customers). I’m boycotting the sponsors of Duck, so yeah – there are consequences.

        • GoGiants says:

          Liberals are not hateful or oppressive, that is conservatives (who also lack sense). Great for a cable show, but still DOWN, after all the teafolk whining that people stand with Phil etc. Once again, teafolk have no clue.

  8. Amanda says:

    I think it some of it was because they didn’t advertise the new season as heavily as they did last year I assume due to the controversy. You couldn’t go anywhere on tv or outside last season without seeing some kind of advertising for the show. I know several who watch it that didn’t realize it was back on last night.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      I agree, i basically had no idea it was premiering last night until i saw on the day a blurb about the asian adopted daughter being on the show now starting “tonight”. But basically wouldnt have known it was back if it wasnt for my season pass recording it.

    • John says:

      The controversy WAS the advertisement for the show. The timing/air date for new season was mentioned in nearly every article. At least on EW which was DD-central for a while with little else but duck dynasty ‘news’.

  9. David says:

    I was a fan prior to everything that happened but completely disagreed with what Phil said and wasn’t sure how I would feel when it came back. I watched but it wasn’t the same. I just can’t look at him the same way and I’m sure there are many that feel the same way. When Phil wasnt on screen it felt okay but after everything that went down it’s just different. The humor that was the before doesn’t feel the same. It’s really a dark cloud over the show and I dont think it can recover back to what it was. They should have dismissed him completely. Him being on the show ruins it for people that don’t share his bigoted views.

    • GoGiants says:

      Not only bigoted, but the views on marrying young teenage girls are pretty disgusting.

    • Patrick says:

      There are a lot, and I mean A LOT of moderates/liberals that watch shows like this. They enjoy watching shows about people that have different lifestyles.

      After his comments, lots of those liberals/moderates walked away from the show.

    • Christy says:

      I think that’s a perfect description – a dark cloud.

    • james says:

      What a fool.

      Phil said nothing remotely controversial.

      ‘Gay’ is so obviously a social disorder in the reproductive process – to consider otherwise is to be completely brainwashed.

      The show, however, was boring. Clearly the story lines are getting repetitive, they reached their nadir last season.

      • GoGiants says:

        Homosexuality is natural. Homophobia is a social disorder, I hope yours clears up.

      • ewwww! says:

        Woah, you are awesome at making up facts!

        The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality as a mental disorder way back in 1977. They apologized for the mistake.

        That Phil guy said a lot of ignorant things about homosexuals, black people and women. It’s your call if you agree with him but obviously at least 4 million of his former viewers disagree. Honestly, the network will drop them the minute they stop turning a profit and because of Phil’s views- that will happen sooner than expected.

  10. Pix says:

    Cool. Can we start ignoring it now, until it goes away completely?

  11. Geo says:

    A&E is about to discover that giving in to bigots– i.e., quickly backing out of their phony “suspension” of Phil Robertson without any real consequences– doesn’t pay off. Bigots tend to be fairweather friends and won’t support you in the long run, A&E. Duck Dynasty was a fad with a limited shelf-life and clearly its appeal is already expiring. Meanwhile, by capitulating to bigotry and figuratively putting all their eggs in the Duck Dynasty basket, A&E turned around and permanently lost viewers for their other shows like Bates Motel who don’t want to support a network where a man who makes racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim comments (along with creepy statements about underage girls) is barely given a slap on the wrist. A place like Food Network, in contrast, didn’t play fast-and-loose about their stance on bigotry– they took decisive action on Paula Deen and didn’t back down, thus managing to make it clear where they stand and not ending up angering pretty much everyone on all sides.

    • Angela says:

      Nice post. Well said.

    • james says:

      What a completely and utterly stupid comment.

      People are boycotting A&E for their actions, not Duck Dynasty for Phil’s words.

      This, evidenced by the millions who indicated as such.

      • Tim says:

        A&E took Phil back. Phil appeared on the season opener and will be on every episode from here on. How are you separating the two? Are you saying people are not boycotting Phil but are boycotting A&E.. This is a indication of both. IF they got rid of him in the first place, the ratings may not have taken such a huge dive. What actions did A&E take that upset people?? Suspending Phil? Taking Phil back? How about supporting homophobia, pedophilia and racism? All of those things Phil Robertson has made clear his support for. Viewers have made their disgust for this entire family clear, and have tuned out in huge numbers.

    • BrianR says:

      Lets see I’ll make one now. The only good Muslim is a dead one. There.

    • Essex says:

      @ Geo – Fair weather friends? You mean like the way GLAAD immediately turned on A&E after A&E caved in to GLAAD’s demands by suspending Robertson and issuing a condemnation? Turned on them by attempting to make a grab for A&E’s merchandising and profits?

      Fair weather friends indeed…

    • GoGiants says:

      Yup. I use TiVo and have the ability to completely block out channels–guess where A&E is with me?

      Blocked. I don’t see them when I channel surf, my TiVo doesn’t pick up programs from the network as suggestions, which is bad news for advertisers.

      I would disagree on Paula Deen, her son’s show, featuring her and with her appearing on every episode, still airs on Food Network and the Cooking Channel. They could have taken that show down too, or changed it to not feature her–can her son not stand on his own? Guess not.

  12. Dennis says:

    didn’t know it was back will have to catch it on repeat

  13. Dakota says:

    So whats the excuse Fox folks are using ….m sure Obama is to blame

    • Pix says:

      The leading excuse seems to be that A&E purposefully didn’t inform their viewers enough that the show was coming back, effectively… sabotaging their own show. After undoing their decision about suspending Phil after, like, 5 seconds, to save the rating. Seems legit.

  14. While the numbers might be down from the Season 4 premier the Season 4 finale drew 8.4 million viewers so they actually gained viewers from the last airing. So their drop in viewers happened before the controversy, it was a nice attempt at spin though Michael,and some of your posters even ate it up as the drop in viewers had anything to do with the Phil. Keep those blinders on though Michael depends on it!

    • Amanda says:

      Thumbs up!

    • Sara says:

      While you are correct in that they gained a few viewers (and let’s be honest, it is only a few) since their last outing, advertisers (you know, the only people who’s opinion actually matters in television) look at premiere to premiere ratings to compare. Like to like, you know?

    • Tim says:

      So what did the 3.5 million loss of viewers have to do with then?? In your world, it was probably due to Obamacare right? Maybe it was Miley Cyrus fault? But it definitely was not because Americans were disgusted by Phil Robertson and at the actions of A&E in reinstating Phil.. I bet you believe the world is flat as well too right? Well what is it Dustin Harlan?? This alternate reality you live in is strangely interesting.

  15. David4 says:

    So clearly there is a god… and it doesn’t like bigots!

  16. Jennae says:

    But the show’s ratings we declining at the end of last season anyway. How do these stack up to the end of last season? Is there even a change? I’m much more interested in the changes over the break than from least year.

    • Jennae says:

      Never mind, I checked. 8.5 million is about on par with what they were doing at the end of last season. So really, all that hooplah, absolutely no change.

  17. JUDY says:



  18. Derek Johnson says:

    Way to spin a story.
    Couple of bits of context: DD’s S4 premiere (the 11-12 million) was in August, when there was minimal-to-no competition from the networks. Once S4 had to go against the new seasons from the networks in September, its settled into the 7-8 million range, so the number is consistent and only down slightly from what DD has done in the last years vs real competition. Last night, all the networks were in originals and FX had AHS & TBS ran the season premiere of Men at Work. DD is still doing fine.

    • Tim says:

      So how do you spin this story then? The most desired demo group that advertisers care about dropped 1/3 from last season. This is clear that A&E has lost those viewers to other networks, and if the bleeding continues next week. Then panic will set it with A&E because the advertisers want their money’s worth. More viewers, the more the network can make money off the advertisers. Less viewers, the less money the network can make off the advertisers.

  19. Obama says:

    What a stretch!! LOL Actually the premier had more viewers than last years finale. So that would mean the controversy boosted viewership since the controversy. HAhahahh Baha hhaaa a ahahaa Phil Robertson is the MAN!!

    • GoGiants says:

      Premier was down from last season’s premier, which is what matters to advertisers. Phil is going the way of Palin, a joke.

  20. Sara says:

    It is bad when it means it is down from over 10 million viewers.

  21. second says:

    You have never paid Duck Dynasty much attention on this site until the Phil controversy started, but now you find it important to let everyone know the ratings were down last night? Yeah, this doesn’t seem one sided at all.

  22. cas says:

    Hate the show yet is it possible that the ratings decline follows the same pattern as just about every other show on TV these days? I mean probably about 80% of shows premiere lower from season to season these days. I would say that is more of the reason. Most of the people I know who watched it could give two craps less what some old 70 year old man’s religious views are so they tune in anyway. Just saying.

  23. Phil says:

    Perhaps, the controversy did affect the ratings after all! It says something about America, and makes me a little more proud to call it home. What he said was just plain wrong…and yes I did read the article!

  24. Alex says:

    It is bad, babe. The gay-hating racist is turning off viewers, dude. :D

    • Freckles says:

      They got a 3.4 and 3.3 in the 18-49 demos, Only Idol had a higher rating on that night. I dont think that A&E are too concerned about it. And even 3 repeats managed to get an 1.0 rating. Meanwhile AHS was down to a 1.7. If you check cable rating they practically dominated the night.

  25. Scrappy says:

    Fantastic! The ratings are down and as soon as the conservatives, who probably did flock to the show, stop watching…the ratings will continue to go down. I personally watched the show knowing that some of them were pretty backwards thinking and when he made racial and homophobic rants I was done with the show as I’m sure plenty of other are doing the same.

    • james says:

      Nobody on the show makes any hateful statements, and neither did Phil.

      Jay Z makes homophobic and misogynistic statements in his music all day long – where is the press?

      Thought so.

      • Shelly says:

        You have said this same Jay-Z argument on several posts and maybe you haven’t thought it all the way through. Jay-Z is an artist. He gets paid to make art, in this case, rap music. He appeals to a certain genre. His lyrics reflect the people he is marketing to. Those that don’t enjoy his “homophobic, misogynistic” lyrics don’t purchase it. Got it?

        Now Phil is on a family show, representing family values. So, when he makes remarks that offends some families, yes, he should expect backlash from those families, the organizations that represent those families, as well as from his employer who depends on advertising dollars that in part come from those affected families. Get it?

  26. There was absolutely no promotion for the show’s return. I was setting recording other shows when I notice ‘New’ in the show’s description. I have a felling there’s a secret agreement to end the show this season and if nothing else will not renew it after the current deal expires. Beck will gladly snatch it up.

  27. Babygate says:

    All this back and forth is kind of hilarious. Let the numbers speak for themselves. DD got 8.490 mil. viewers and a 3.4 compared to the highly hyped AHS which got 3.4 mil viewers and a 1.7 demo rating. Most network shows would kill to have DD ratings which I guess is the thing that puzzles people. Not to mention that during the first season DD had less than 2 million viewers. The last season’s ratings of 11+ mill viewers aired in the summer with almost zero competition. This season’s ratings are on par with a year ago. Baffles the mind but, it is what it is.

  28. Jerry says:

    Look at the ratings for The Walking Dead this season. They lost over 5 million viewers during the first 8 episodes. The numbers dropped each week. Season 5 has already been signed along with the spin off next year. I doubt Duck Dynasty is going anywhere.

  29. Brendan says:

    How is it already season five of this show when they just started less than two years ago? I think A&E has been milking this cow a little hard and the teet is starting to show signs of drying up. Pretty soon it will be time to give this show the Old Yeller treatment…

  30. Paul says:

    It’s never good news to lose 1/3 of your viewership from the one season premier to the next, no matter how you spin it.

  31. Ricki Ford says:

    i still stand for phil watched wed and will watch next show!

  32. AD Trent says:

    wow, that’s better than most shows period. I wouldn’t be worried.